Guest Post: “It’s Because I’m A Dude”

I’ve been so lucky to have some fabulous guest posts while I’m away. My final one is from…

You guessed it, a dude. 

 

Chuck has been reading this blog since the beginning. I know, I’m surprised he’s stuck around for so long too. But on top of all that, he’s also battled an eating disorder. Something that is taboo in the male world. Anyhow, he’s been kind enough to contribute and share his story.

So without further ado…..

I give you Chuck: 

Think about how many blogs out there track the amazing journey of people fighting
through and conquering their eating disorders and struggles with food, exercise, and
life. Now, how many of those blogs are authored by men? I can think of about 5, mine
(http://feerlessfood.com/) being one of them.

But contrary to the common perception, eating disorders in guys are more likely than
you make think, and sadly, to what most guys think as well. The purpose of this post is
to say that many people donʼt see it, and at the same time, men going through it donʼt
realize it either.

After football season in 9th grade of high school, my weight began to go down. I donʼt
know really why I started doing what I did, but I told myself that I would be faster. But
did anyone notice at first? No, not really. My mom noticed but even when she insisted
in coming into my annual physical with me to ask the doctor about this severe reduction
in weight, he shrugged it off like it was normal. Side note: Doctors donʼt know anything
really about eating disorders (but thatʼs not their area of expertise so itʼs not fair to
blame them) and only about 8% have any training in nutrition.

To everyone else, I was just a guy working hard in the gym and running and doing more
than everyone else because I was training for sports. But it amazes me today that it
took so long for anyone to see my issues? I went from a starting varsity football player
as a freshman, to a sub player in my senior year, the real reason for any playing time I
got being that I just worked so hard and was so committed that the coaches were really
impressed and gave me play time.

But didnʼt it seem weird that this kid was in the gym on saturday mornings and refused
to run in anything but sweat pants, cold gear under armor, and 2 t shirts? I played it off
as, “if I can train like this, then I can go harder in a game.” Thatʼs crap. Putting ungodly
amounts of time between meals and never eating with my family anymore? Just sad.
But yet, only a few people noticed because, Iʼm a man, and we are not supposed to
“have eating disorders” and “we can eat whatever we want.” With how I was working
out, this should have been true, but I wouldnʼt allow myself. And for the longest time, I
wouldnʼt admit to myself that anything was wrong.

It eventually got to a point where it was noticeable, and after being banned from the Rec
Center at college, I went in-patient to an eating disorder hospital the following summer.

So where am I going? Look for signs. Be there for support. Listen and encourage
healthy living. I can tell you that Iʼve seen guys in the gym getting skinnier and skinnier
and working out at odd hours or for unhealthy amounts of time. Some realize that what
theyʼre doing isnʼt healthy, but some donʼt. Weʼre stubborn dudes and we donʼt have
problems, God forbid eating disorders.

But itʼs not as uncommon as you would think. I had many people reach out to me and

ask about why I was doing what I was and who showed genuine concern, but nothing
ever came of it. Check your friends and prevent these eating disorders from becoming
full fledged by heading them off before they start. If someone had given me the proper
education around nutrition and exercise back then, I guarantee Iʼd be in a different place
today.

Identify
Support
Persist

Thanks everyone.

EDENS NOTE: Thanks everyone who’s been generous enough to take the time to write up the guest posts this weekend. I’ll be back tomorrow with recaps if I’m not too dishevled.

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27 thoughts on “Guest Post: “It’s Because I’m A Dude”

    • I agree- I wish they knew more… or at least when to tell people that they need to see someone who can really help them!

  1. I am so encouraged by your story and your bravery.

    I feel like haveing an eating disorder (especially bulimia or anorexia) and being a male would be like being a mystery trapped in a conundrum trapped in a sh*tstorm in a vortex…..on a plane. I mean, on top of all the crazy there is a whole other element to grapple with.

    I am glad there is increasing attention being given to eating disorders amongst males, however it is sad that this is mainly due to “a rise in the occurence” which actually may be just more males are aware and fessing up and getting help.
    I

    • Thanks for the comment Missy- It means so much to me. It a crazy mystery and challenge for sure. I think more men are really just realizing and I try, as well as promote, to help anyone, guys or girls, that I can.

  2. Thanks for shedding light on this issue. I completely agree with you that ED’s are out there for everyone, even males! I’ve seen it in more than a few of my guy friends in college but it was hard to say anything because they were guys and like you said….could do whatever they wanted. I’m sorry that you struggled for so long but I hope that it keeps getting better!

    • Thanks so much for the comment! Everyday is it’s own struggle but I’m fighting it. And college is where I saw it more as well. Saying something though is better than nothing at all!

  3. Thanks Chuck for sharing your story. I know at least one male with an (undiagnosed) eating disorder- he’s not anorexic, but I think he flops between binging and dieting. I have read that there are certain sports that the participants are at risk. I didn’t realize that football was one of them.

    Thanks for giving Eden the day off blogging so that she could eat her way around PS with me! ❤

    • Thanks for the comment- I don’t know that football usually is one of those sports (unlike running or triathlons like I do now) but I think anything taken in the wrong direction brings the chance for unhealthy behaviors.

      Hope you had an awesome trip!

  4. thanks for posting this Eden. I read Chuck’s blog too and am constantly inspired by his story and the amount of work he puts into fueling his body and maintaining a positive attitude while acknowledging his struggles. I’ve seen some guys with obvious eating disorders and I hope the world wakes up soon and confronts something about it because everyone is susceptible to these things!

    • Thank you so much for your words! I can’t tell you how much everything means to me!

      Thanks again to Eden for posting this from me!

  5. Pingback: Guest Post « Feerlessfood's Blog

  6. It must be so much harder as a male with an eating disorder. I can’t even imagine. I hate how people think that guys don’t have EDs or that it is somehow different and less dangerous than a girl who starves herself.

  7. Great post, Chuck! It’s true that we don’t really think that men should have eating disorders. I also think people are reluctant to reach out to someone they think might have one, because they think it’s not their place, or don’t know what to say. It’s interesting to hear the perspective of someone who has battled one! Thanks for being so open!

  8. Hi April & Chuck,

    I know how you are always calling out the lurkers, so I suppose it’s time to show my face. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and, as a former anorexic & cookie baker turned personal trainer, I’ve been really engaged with the material you post.

    I’m so glad that someone out there is writing about male eating disorders too…It’s honestly so tragic that people don’t really even think twice until they meet someone who has been diagnosed (because god forbid a man have a “girl” disease, or something like that…).

    I’m pretty much convinced that my ex-boyfriend is an anorexic. While we were dating, he read some article in Men’s Health about the 6 foods you had to eat every day, and so those became the ONLY foods he ate every day. He would eat oatmeal for every meal in which he wasn’t eating his “slop,” as he called it, and those portions were ridiculously small.

    He was a trigger for me, especially when he used to call me up (we dated long distance when we both went back to grad school) and tell me how much weight he had lost each week. At one point he was 145. I was 130. I didn’t realize that what he was doing at the time could be considered an ED, and unfortunately I only realized it too late–after my own weight had dropped to 112 and my doctor was warning me about the dangers of osteopenia.

    Anyway. Sorry for the sob story. Long story short, you touched me with your post, Chuck, and I hope that more men hear (or read?) your story & start raising awareness. And thank you, Eden, for letting me lurk for the last several months. You’re awesome.

    –K.

  9. Thank you so so much for sharing this Chuck. Your story has helped me so much and I know it has been just as inspirational to others. This needs to get out there because I am sure there are so many guys out there that don’t get treated simply because they are guys…

    You’re awesome man 🙂

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